What Happens To The Clothing You Donate?

Children in need clothing

If you’re in the habit of donating your used clothing (or have thought about doing so), maybe you’ve wondered exactly how your generosity benefits others.

There are at least three answers to that question: veterans, the blind and the environment.

In 1958, Congress chartered the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH). Since then, millions of dollars a year have been raised by the Greendrop organization through the resale of clothing donations. These funds enable MOPH to make available a range of health benefits, education and other support for military families. And that’s important, because the unemployment rate for veterans in the United States is typically 2% above the national average.

Money from clothing donations also goes to underwrite the efforts
of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), which is America’s oldest, largest and most influential national organization of blind people. Its activities include advocating for the civil rights and equality of blind citizens. And, it provides the blind and others who are losing their sight with education, technology and training they need to become independent and successful.

Finally, your used clothing donations can have a positive effect on the environment. It’s estimated that 90% of the clothing and textiles discarded during 2011 could have been recycled. In the United States, we throw away about 12 million tons of such items each year, while only two million tons are donated or recycled. And there are multiple environmental benefits associated with recycling clothing. You’re reducing the amount of pesticides needed to grow cotton and water needed for the dyeing process. And, you’re cutting the emission of pollutants, greenhouse gases and volatile organic compounds that can contaminate both air water during the manufacture of fabric.

So, when you donate clothing, you have a right to take pride in the fact that you’re making a difference. Not only are you helping people directly, but you’re putting something to very good use that would otherwise end up in a landfill.

In total, about 80% of the clothing donated in the United States is used by charitable organizations for distribution to the needy and for funding.

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